Simplifying My Digital World…

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This year I began my journey with minimalism. Not only did that include simplifying my material possessions, but also the non-material things in my life like relationships, what I’m watching/listening to, and you guessed it… SOCIAL MEDIA!!!

The very first thing I did was delete my twitter.

Why did I do that? Because who really cares what I am doing or what I have to say 24/7… and if you do really care (for whatever reason) you can just ask me about it when we talk in real life.

Next I deleted my Instagram.

I did this because I realized my self worth is greater than the number of likes I got on a selfie. My relationship should not be questioned if I am not a “woman crush Wednesday”, or if my significant other is not my “man crush Monday”. I should not feel like a lesser person due to my followers to following ratio. It is not real, and I did not enjoy how “show-boaty” Instagram became.

Then I deleted my Snapchat.

I got rid of my Snapchat because I didn’t use it that much. It was just digital clutter to me. The only person I ever really snapped was my boyfriend, and I already text him all day long anyways.

Finally, I decluttered my ENTIRE iPhone.

I went from a phone full of apps and connections to a minimal and organized digital space. The result?… 22 contacts and 25 apps remaining. I wanted to start living intentionally so I set my phone up to where I do not feel tempted to stare at it all day. Here’s a closer look into my decluttered digital set up:

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I cannot honestly say that I wasn’t hesitant to get rid of most of my social media…

I mean, come on. What if I missed out on something important? What if I had something I needed to share with everyone?

News flash: I didn’t. And another thing… no one noticed I was gone.

It’s a weird feeling. When you’re online everyone makes you feel special, like you’re part of the group. They take the time to reach out to you because you’re right there in their space… because it’s convenient and easy for them.

After a while I began to realize people weren’t curious where I was or what I was doing. No ones lives had stopped in a panic search for me. Birthdays and holidays passed, and less and less people reached out to me.

I know what you’re thinking… this is really sad. She must be really lonely. But it’s not sad, and I’m not alone. Now that all of that digital clutter is gone I feel more fulfilled than ever before. I find my value in God. I cherish my real life relationships- and although they are smaller in number, they are larger in love. I spend more time sitting outside than I do on my phone. I don’t mindlessly scroll while I’m at a restaurant. I don’t go to extreme lengths to get the perfect Instagram picture.

I’m actually living my life… and I wish I had done it sooner.

What Minimalism Means To Me…

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I am a big fan of YouTube. Organization and decluttering videos, in particular. Something about watching those kinds of videos just calms me (can you tell I’m a Type A personality yet?).

One day I was on YouTube watching videos when I came across a minimalism video, and this may sound sort of dramatic- but it changed my life.

Minimalism, in short, is intentional living with less. Basically you’re supposed to “only have things in your life that spark joy”. So for instance, you go through your closet and get rid of things that you don’t like, haven’t worn in forever, or that don’t fit you anymore. And you basically do that with the rest of your life as well. You declutter your life- and if you don’t need it or love it, you let it go. I’m sure some of you are thinking that this concept sounds crazy, and to be honest some people do take minimalism to an extreme level. However…

To me, minimalism is open organized spaces, owning possessions with purpose, and intentional living.

Open organized spaces have always been appealing to me, maybe that’s why I was drawn to minimalism from the beginning. I love rummaging through things and getting rid of what I no longer use. I enjoy donating it and giving it a new life, or selling it and making some cash! Knowing I have just what I need, and that I don’t have so much that I have to cram things into spaces… that brings me joy.

Owning possessions with purpose means not having a bunch of useless junk. Everything I own is relevant to me. Since I’ve started my minimalist journey I’ve probably purged 60% of my possessions. I don’t own multiples of things, and if it’s something I hadn’t used in the past year- I got rid of it. If I could go a year without noticing it, it obviously wasn’t very important to me. Another thing I did was I went though my memory box and scanned special notes and cards onto my computer. I got rid of the hard copies so that I had more space, but they were still safe on my hard drive. I still have all of mine and Troy’s letters and cards in a separate box. I will always keep those hard copies- but it sparks joy in me, so I think it’s okay.

Finally I started spending intentionally. I don’t just “go shopping” anymore. When I go to the store I go with a list and a purpose. As of right now I own everything that I want and need. If I got a hole in my leggings and needed a new pair, then I would go searching for some… But I’m not going to go out shopping to buy something I already have, or go shopping without a purpose and end up buying something I didn’t even need to begin with. This rule of thumb has saved me tons of money, and has helped me become more responsible with my spending.

In addition to material items, I started to think about relationships in my life, what I am viewing and listening to, social media, and even how I spend my free time. I asked myself if those things making me happy or weighing me down? Depending on my answered I either held on to them or let go.

These three rules of thumb are what minimalism means to me. Everyone has a different journey and we all take it at our own pace. My minimalism journey has taught me that when I leave this life, my possessions are not going with me. I have learned the value of experiences and memories over material things. And most importantly, I have learned to be more grateful.

I am happy with what I have. I have enough. I am enough.

The World’s Biggest Momma’s Girl…

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That’s me. I’m not afraid to admit it: I am the world’s biggest momma’s girl. If you had a mom even remotely close to mine, you would understand why.

My mom is the most joyful radiating beauty I know… her smile can light up an entire room.

My mom and I laugh endlessly when we are together. I’m not sure if it’s my laugh or hers that is contagious.

My mom is someone I can trust. I take her advice very seriously.

My mom knows what I’m thinking or how I’m feeling when I don’t say a word. She says she knows just because she’s my mom, but I think she has some sort of super power.

My mom has the ability to make a horrible day much better. I cherish every moment I spend with her.

My mom is someone I can sit in silence with, or someone I can jam out in the car with.

My mom is selfless. She is the definition of a godly woman, and she has always helped me stay strong in my faith.

My mom is 100% invested my life. I know she truly cares, and that’s why I can confide in her.

My mom is smart and incredibly driven. She is sweet and caring.

My mom prays for me. She is supportive and encouraging.

I love my mom unconditionally, with every piece of my heart- and even that will never measure up to what she truly deserves.

I was momma’s girl growing up, I’m a momma’s girl now- and I’ll be a momma’s girl forever. Thanks for being my best friend, mom.

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“As constant as the stars above, always know that you are loved.”

I Am a College Graduate…

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Today I put on my cap and gown, straightened my tassel, and sat in an arena for 3 hours until my name was called and I walked down the isle. As of today I have a bachelors degree. As of today I am a college graduate.

Just a little bit of background info: I have a BA in psychology and a minor in family development. I graduated with a 4 year degree in 3 years. I’m proud of myself. I think that is a pretty stellar accomplishment.

I don’t really get a break after graduation though, because I got a job as a substitute teacher and because I am working towards my masters degree.

This spring I was accepted into my Masters of Education and School Counseling program. It is one year of classes and one year of an internship. After I complete the program in 2019, I will be licensed to counsel k-12. My dream is to be a school counselor and help guide and support children through their academics, career pathways, and young adult lives.

In all honestly, this road has been bumpy at times. I’ve never taken anything less than 17 credit hours a semester, and it can be overwhelming. On top of that applying for grad school made me want to rip my hair out. And the stressors of a job, keeping my grades up, and maintaining a social life are enough to make anyone want to quit. But I’m glad I didn’t.

My advice to anyone who is thinking about college, or who is going to college now and stressing because of it… just look at the bigger picture. Whenever I got a bad grade, had 5 papers due in one week, or was running on 2 hours of sleep- I would think about the bigger picture. I could see myself in my office one day, counseling children and changing lives. I could see the finish line… I pictured the look of pride on my parents face as I walked down the isle and was rightfully handed my very first degree. That was all it took, that was my motivation.

Cheers to everyone earning their college degree this May… and best of luck to those of you who are still working towards your dreams.

• Thank you to everyone who came out to watch me graduate or stopped by my party. I could not have accomplished this without your love and support. •

If Hannah Baker Had a Friend Like Katie…

***Spoiler alert: If you have not finished Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why, do not keep reading this blog.***

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Pictured above is my #1 gal pal, Katie. She has the most loyal, kind, and beautiful heart I know. Katie has impacted my life in ways that she will never understand. I know that she would have made an impact on someone like Hannah Baker, too.

 

If Hannah had a friend like Katie… her story would have ended very differently.

Katie would have welcomed Hannah with open arms upon her arrival to a brand new high school.

Katie would have showed Hannah around, making her feel welcome and giving her helpful hints and tips.

Katie would have made sure that she was not eating lunch alone.

Katie would have smiled at Hannah when she saw her in the hallways.

Katie would have checked up on Hannah to ask her how things were going.

Katie would have grabbed hot chocolate with her at Monet’s and gotten to know her better.

Katie would have tried to get Hannah involved in other school activities.

Katie would have stood up and put a stop to it, when other people spoke ill of Hannah.

Katie would have sat on Hannah’s bedroom floor with her and let her cry about immature idiotic boys.

Katie would have told Hannah that even though other girls were cruel, she would always have a friend in her.

Katie would have believed Hannah when she confided in her about the assault.

Katie would have kept Hannah’s personal life confidential.

Katie would have reminded her that she was valued, and that there is so much more to life than what people think of you in high school.

If Hannah had a friend… just one friend, like Katie… she would still be alive.

You never know who’s life you could be saving. Be kind to everyone. Everyone needs a friend.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, please utilize the resources around you. Call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1–800–273–8255. Reach out to a school counselor. Confide in someone at church. Or even talk to your doctor.

You are loved. There is so much more to life than what you are feeling right now. Life is beautiful- do not rob yourself of it.

Netflix and Chill (By Yourself) Recommendations…

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Here are my top 10 TV shows that I started watching on Netflix, watched all the way through (with the exception of #10), and liked enough to recommend to you:

  1. Gossip Girl — Blair Waldorf & THE Chuck Bass were enough to keep me hooked on this TV drama.
  2. Gilmore Girls — My mom and I are literally Rory & Lorelei. This show was feel-good, and it pulled at my heartstrings from beginning to end. (Disclaimer: I was pumped for the revival, but I was so disappointed- it was not my favorite)
  3. Last Man Standing — This is the greatest family show ever! I cannot recommend it enough times! (If you’re a republican you will love it even more)
  4. Fuller House — John Stamos did Full House justice. I never stop laughing when I watch this show, and I binge watch it whenever a new season comes out! (I am still hopeful that Michelle will come back for at least one episode)
  5. 13 Reasons Why — You will not stop watching this show for the sole reason that you will get sucked into whatever Hannah has to say next. The message behind it all is extremely moving: be kind to everyone.
  6. The Ranch — Former That 70’s Show stars coming together for another comedy? Who wouldn’t want to watch?!
  7. Shameless — This show is 100% not for children. After watching it I understand how it got it’s title. It was a complete disaster from beginning to end, but hey, I couldn’t stop watching!
  8. Young & Hungry — Humorous, witty, and tons of fun. Easy to binge watch.
  9. Baby Daddy — ^ ditto.
  10. How I Met Your Mother — I just recently started this from the beginning and it’s such a cute show. I’m excited to finish it! Only 8 seasons left… LOL

• Happy binge watching, Netflix and chilling, and every other verb to describe wasting away your life fan-girling over tv shows! •

Half a Decade…

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Here we are 5 years later…

I remember sitting next to you in 7th grade math class (I totally scooted my papers over so you could copy me). I remember innocent but flirtatious myspace messages. I remember teachers thinking that we were dating when we weren’t.

I remember the night you told me that you were in love with me.

I remember the homecomings and proms. I remember kisses in the school hallway. I remember holding hands and passing notes. I remember cheering you on at baseball games. I remember spring break at Disney world and Universal Studios. I remember our senior trip to New York City. I remember our high school graduation.

I remember the family vacation to Oak Island. I remember our first time at Fenway park, and our first time at a Heinz Field. I remember all the date nights. I remember visiting my grandparents in Florida.

I remember thinking I could never love you anymore than I do right now… but everyday I love you more. 

I truly believe that if God put someone together piece by piece with the intent for them to love me… it was you.

My intent is to love you, respect you, and be your best friend for the rest of our lives. Happy half a decade- here’s to many more.

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• What you’re seeing pictured in this blog is mine and Troy’s 5 year anniversary week… we don’t normally celebrate the whole week- but 5 years is a big deal! On Monday evening we went to Monday night RAW. On Wednesday we went to a baseball game. Today we’re celebrating with dinner at a restaurant that we haven’t tried yet, and afterwards we’re going to see the new Fate of the Furious movie! This year we chose to put our money towards experiences we could share together instead of gifts, and we will continue that tradition. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world. •

Some Things You Don’t Know…

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You already know my name is Emily…

What you don’t know is that I am a 21 year old who is currently pursing my masters degree in school counseling. You also don’t know that I am in a relationship of 5 years with my high school sweetheart. You don’t know that I am a Christian. You don’t know that I have four cats (leave the cat stereotypes at home, people). You don’t know that my mom is my best friend. You don’t know that I embrace a minimalistic lifestyle. And most importantly, you don’t know my story.

I don’t know if you ever will know my whole story, but if you’re intrigued- then stay tuned.